For our July pick we were lucky enough to work with Harlequin Teen on:
Ink by Amanda Sun
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
Today at Gone Pecan we are hosting an interview with Ms Sun AND a giveaway!
1. Obviously drawing is a huge part of the story but what separates your book from most is that you include the drawings described. Did you feel it was necessary to include actual drawings or more of a bonus feature?
The Harlequin TEEN team suggested added the drawings, and I think they really bring that added experience to The Paper Gods. I was really excited when they found such a perfect illustrator for INK. Tomohiro’s sketches are so central to the plot, that I think the drawings really add to the feel of the book. You feel as though you are flipping through his sketch book, waiting for the drawings to move…and a little concerned that they might. And the flip animations are such a great feature too! Now that INK includes them, I can’t imagine it without!
2. Did you find it easier/harder to write a specific character? What part of the story came most naturally to you?
Each character has her own challenges, but I find the Japanese teens take the most time. They are growing up in a culture very different from mine, and so it always takes a little extra time and though to figure out how they would act in a situation. Ishikawa (Tomo’s best friend) in particular is tricky, because there are a lot of layered issues he’s going through, and they motivate him in strange ways sometimes. In contrast, I find Tomohiro the easiest to write for, because he is the one central to the paranormal issues in the book. He often thinks like an ancient being instead of a Japanese teen, which makes it a lot of fun to see how he reacts to things.
3. Katie’s connection with the Kami is very vague in the book and we don’t learn much about what her part truly is in the story just yet. Without being spoilery will we get answers in the next book?
Yes! Between SHADOW and INK, Katie has some strange experiences that hint at a tie between her and the INK. in Book 2, Katie seeks out help from a few sources to discover what’s really going on, and I think things will start to make a lot of sense as she uncovers the truth.
4. Personally I love reading books that involve other cultures and locations, especially when they “immerse” you in the story. Were you worried that using so many Japanese terms would turn some away because they might not be able to connect?
I’m a big fan of novels which use other languages in a way that you can derive the meaning from the context, so in that sense, I wasn’t worried about readers not being able to connect. There is a glossary in INK, but I’ve tried to write it in a way that you won’t need to refer to it.
I chose to use Japanese words in INK for a few different reasons. Firstly, I wanted to capture the feeling Katie has of not being able to fully understand what’s being said without tripping over certain words. Secondly, sometimes I really need the sound of the language to carry across for a scene, or there might not have been a good English equivalent. And thirdly, as you read the Japanese becomes part of the immersive culture of the book. You’ll see all aspects of Japanese life going on such as food, school life, customs, so language is there as well to provide a complete mini-vacation to Japan.
5. If we take away one thing from the book what would you hope it would be?
What I really hope comes across is that life is beautiful, and terrifying, at the same time. We only have one life, and we have to make it matter–to ourselves, and to those we love. Reach for what you want, and don’t be afraid to fail along the way. Everything that happens to us shapes us for our greater purpose.
In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “Let everything happen to you / Beauty and terror / Just keep going / No feeling is final.” This is what I hope will come across through The Paper Gods series.
6. Learning about the Kami was quite interesting. What book/site would you recommend if we wanted to learn more?
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed learning about the kami! You can read quite a few of the legends online, starting in places such as Wikipedia or Mythology encylopedia sites. If you’re looking for something more in depth, The Kojiki in translation is the oldest source of kami mythology and history. And there are a few ebooks of Japanese fairy tales I’ve seen on etailers which you can download free! So those are a few great sources for starting into Japanese mythology.
Thank you so much for having me on the blog!
Sound like something you might want to read? I know it did to me!! Why not try for a finished copy? Just follow the rafflecopter link below to enter for your chance to win!! US and Canada ONLY.
Harlequin was so generous to share a few extra tidbits about the book to include in the author interview.
Are you planning on reading the digital version of Ink? Maybe you are reading a physical copy and want to know what you are missing out on? Check out these cool clips of the animation that will be seen by readers of the digital version:
Liked our interview and giveaway? Check out the other SC posts!!
*We’ve change Casting Call around a bit staring this month. We decided as a group to make it a bit more generic so we could incorporate more casting options and dig even deeper into the books. So from now on we will call this feature “Page to Screen” and can use it for anything casting related whether is be character casting, talking about possible setting choices, soundtracks, or anything else that might jump out at us. I think by broadening the field we will open up so many possibilities! Check back for our expanded feature in future posts!*
Thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing ARCS for review on the SC.